Jim Kazanjian - Photo-essays - Domus
Jim Kazanjian
 

Jim Kazanjian

By composing pieces from photos find online, Jim Kazanjian creates “hyper-collages” inspired by classic horror literature, disputing the idea that photography has a sort of built-in objectivity.

 

Photo-essays / Jim Kazanjian

My images are digitally manipulated composites built from photographs I find online.

The technique I use could be considered "hyper-collage". I cobble together pieces from photos I find interesting and feed them into Photoshop. Through a palimpsest-like layering process of adding and subtracting, I gradually blend the various parts together. I am basically manipulating and assembling a disparate array of multiple photographic elements (sometimes more than 50) to produce a single homogenized image. I do not use a camera at any stage in the process.

Jim Kazanjian

Top: Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (Low Tide),archival pigment print, 2009. Above: Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (Backyard),archival pigment print, 2011

My method of construction has an improvisational and random quality to it, since it is largely driven by the source material I have available. I wade through my archive constantly and search for interesting combinations and relationships. Each new piece I bring to the composition informs the image's potential direction. It is an iterative and organic process where the end result is many times removed from its origin. I think of the work as a type of mutation which can haphazardly spawn in numerous and unpredictable directions.

I’ve chosen photography as a medium because of the cultural misunderstanding that it has a sort of built-in objectivity. This allows me to set up a visual tension within the work, to make it resonate and lure the viewer further inside. My current series is inspired by the classic horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and similar authors. I am intrigued with the narrative archetypes these writers utilize to transform the commonplace into something sinister and foreboding. In my work, I prefer to use these devices as a means to generate entry points for the viewer. I'm interested in occupying a space where the mundane intersects the strange, and the familiar becomes alien. In a sense, I am attempting to render the sublime.

 

Jim Kazanjian received his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in '92. His BFA was completed at the Kansas City Art Institute in '90. He has worked professionally as a commercial CGI artist for the past 18 years in television and game production. Various clients he has collaborated with include: Nike, Adidas, NBC, CBS, HBO, NASA, HP, Intel and others. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.